Posts from the ‘chicken’ Category

roasted chicken matzo ball soup with quinoa

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when i crave matzo ball soup, i make it myself because i can’t get it in the city anymore. seems all the jewish places have moved out of town. i usually can’t get it to taste as good but this time i did it different & it blew away any chicken soup i have ever had or made.

the process is tedious but well worth it.

roast an entire chicken thomas keller style. i coated the entire bird with

-coarse salt
-white pepper
-togarashi
-italian seasoning
-adobo
-valentina fruit seasoning or some kind of chili lime salt – important

let cool. separate the skin & bones from the meat. make stock. i did a double stock-a previous stock was used to simmer the new bird bones. this added more richness. i also used a pressure cooker which speeds it all up. tossed in 2 bunches of green onion tops, several garlic cloves & above spices.

while the stock is cooking, take a large skillet & fry 5 pieces of chopped bacon till crisp. remove bacon, drain some fat & set aside. chop one large onion & fry 10 minutes. add 3 chopped carrots & 2 chopped celery stalks. add salt, cover & cook 10 more minutes. add 6 chopped garlic cloves, the chicken meat & bacon. add all the spices used on the bird. cook covered on low until the stock is done-about an hour. the pressure cooker is my friend.

drain the stock & combine with skillet. it will be ready almost immediately.

cook the quinoa separate. matzo balls are also separate & very easy. whip 2 eggs with 2 T oil whipping them with electric mixer. stir in one pack matzo meal, chill 15 minutes. cook covered in simmering water 20 minutes. i have made them many times & it seems this is the best way. i used to cook it all together and the flavor is much better cooked separately. you DO want to use the bacon.

i topped it with togarashi. a little romano, but it’s really fine without it.

chicago is having it’s 4th polar vortex- minus 30 degrees w/wind chills. soup is not a luxury. it’s a necessity.

perfect chicken soup

i’ve been trying all kinds of different chicken to roast & use for various things. i always use thomas keller’s favorite roast chicken recipe because it’s simple & perfect. people don’t realize the big mistake of basting or adding butter under the skin. DRY is the key to cooking this to perfection. trust me.

i’ve been trying to cook more lately & eat better & it’s getting pretty cold outside now so i got up on a sunday, roasted another chicken in the morning, let it cook, tore off the meat & put it in a bowl in the fridge. then i took all the bones & skin, put in my new all-clad soup pot with an onion, a couple of cut carrots, some celery, rosemary, salt & pepper & made stock. it cooked for about 4-5 hours. i went to teach my class & when i got home, i did the soup. i cooked chopped onion in olive oil with salt for 10 minutes. then i added 4 chopped cloves of garlic & cooked a little more. added pepper, more salt & rosemary. then i added small cubed celery & carrots, sweat it with a little of the broth for around 10 minutes. then i added the desired amount of stock & more herbs & salt. reduced it a bit, & wasn’t satisfied. my friend was over who is also a good cook. he said he likes to put his in a bowl & add what he thinks is missing. because he has ruined a lot of entire pots of soup. i’ve never heard this before but it made perfect sense. i figured it out easily.

the juice of one lemon.

chef’s that i know often stress the acidic fact when i ask them questions about cooking. it was PERFECT. then i threw in the chicken. i left the pieces kind of big, which is awesome. i cooked good quality fat egg noodles on the side (never cook in the soup. it makes them gummy).

that’s it! cheap & easy, delicious & perfect for a cold day.

so far the best chicken i’ve used is the Amish. i love trying a different chicken every time i roast one. and i NEVER EVER buy stock from the store anymore. my freezer is filled with stock that i always need for something!

thomas keller’s favorite roast chicken

i have never roasted a chicken before. mainly because i haven’t had a stove for 15 years & a student recently gave me a gas stove. i wanted to start with something simple & another student told me about thomas keller’s simple roast chicken recipe. this was PERFECT because all it required was salt, pepper & thyme. and a knowledge of tussing a chicken which was something foreign to me. you must tie it together so it cooks evenly.

handling a whole roaster was a bit strange. i had to sit it up while putting the salt & pepper inside of the carcass.

than i had to follow the step-by-step instruction for tussing for dummies

massage it in salt & pepper, place in a 450 degree oven uncovered for an hour. than you baste it a bit with it’s juices & fresh thyme & let it sit 15 minutes. that’s it! nothing else was required-not even gravy! hell-i wouldn’t ruin it by drowning it in gravy.

the potatoes i made were yukon gold slivered into onions, garlic & adobo on stovetop. than i finished it in the oven with fresh parmesean-reggiano, mashed it together & that was it. perfection! i have a feeling i’m going to be doing this on a regular basis. it’s too easy not to do. i have no idea how one can improve upon this recipe. it’s rated 4 forks with over 500 reviews on epicurious. it’s going to also make an awesome stock. i win!

rogan josh/bunny chow

the colonel wanted rogan josh , a kashmiri delight which is usually made with lamb or stewing beef. i went to sterling goss meat purveyors who i like to patronize because they are kind, small, remember me by name & because they make sausage in-house & usually have grass fed meats. unfortunately they ran out of lamb shoulder & stewing beef but they just got in fresh un-frozen chickens, so i reluctantly bought one because chicken has the least flavor out of those 3 meats. i was NOT sorry. because the chicken was so fresh & delish it actually tasted amazing! first i asked for them to cut it into it’s 10 pieces (a skill i need to learn to do myself being a hobby chef) so next time i will keep it whole & just get some poultry scissors & learn)

i had NO idea how to skin & de-bone so i went to the message boards on yelp & a chef told me to simmer the pieces in water for 20 minutes and then let it sit in the broth another 30, remove it & let it cool. then i easily removed the skin & bones & put them back into the pot to make chicken soup for matzo ball noodle soup. what an amazing chicken! indian food is not easy. you have to have the spices on hand-often that means 30+ kinds of whole & ground spices. luckily i have most everything to make indian, thai & japanese food. i am a self-proclaimed asia phile.

a friend on fb asked if this was similar to bunny chow

“The bunny chow was created in Durban, home to a large community of people of Indian origin. The precise origins of the food are disputed, although its creation has been dated to the 1940’s.
One story (which also provides an etymology for bunny chow) has it that a restaurant run by people known as Banias (an Indian caste) first created the scooped-out bread and curry dish, in Grey Street, Durban. The food was a means to serve take-aways to excluded people. During the apartheid regime Indians were not allowed in certain shops and cafes and so the shop owners found a way of serving the people through back windows etc. This was an easy and effective way to serve the workers. They cut out the centre portion of the bread and filled it with curry and capped the filling with the portion that was cut out.
An alternative story of the bunny chow’s origins (which similarly provides an etymology) is that, as in India, merchants who traditionally sold their wares under the ‘bania’ tree (also known as the banyan, or Ficus bengalensis) were called ‘bania’. The use of this name is known in India going back to antiquity. It is more likely that the name ‘bania chow’ was adopted to describe the staple meal of Indian merchants than taken from a restaurant run by Banias, although the true origins remain somewhat disputed.
Stories of the origin of bunny chow date as far back as the migrant Indian workers arrival in South Africa. One account suggests that Indian migrant workers from India were brought to South Africa to work the sugar cane plantations of Kwazulu-Natal (Port Natal) required a way of carrying their lunches to the field; the hollowed out loaf of bread was a convenient way to transport their vegetarian curries. Meat based fillings came later. The use of a loaf of bread can also be ascribed to the lack of the traditional roti bread, in the absence of which a loaf of bread would be acceptable as an accompaniment to curry”

i believe this dish could have become rogan josh

“Rogan josh (or roghan josh) is an aromatic lamb dish hailing from Kashmir and is quite popular in India, Pakistan, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Rogan (روغن) means oil in Persian, while josh (جوش) means heat, hot, boiling, or passionate. Rogan josh thus means cooked in oil at intense heat. Another interpretation of the name rogan josh is derived from the word rogan meaning color and josh meaning passion, hot or red. So this is a meat dish which is red in color. The red color is essential to this dish and to achieve this end kashmiri mirch, which means “pepper from Kashmir” is used. This ground pepper is red in color but not as hot as other Indian peppers. So a lot of it could be used to impart the red color and yet still keep the food mildly hot. In addition to this chilli, dried alkanet root has also been used traditionally; this root is also known as “Ratan Jot”.
Rogan josh was brought to Kashmir[1] by the Mughals. The unrelenting heat of the Indian plains took the Mughals frequently to Kashmir, which is where the first Kashmir adoption of Rogan josh occurred.”

so this was pretty much a very interesting dish to create, as i have never had it before. the colonel requested it. and topped with garam masala & black pepper, it turned out wonderful. the fresh un-frozen chicken made it totally over the top.

if you don’t mind spending hours in your kitchen, you will love making this. it’s not hard. it just takes a little time.

green chicken chili

i make chili a lot. this one is completely different from any others i have made. there is no tomato sauce at all. so it’s interesting to get it thick. how do you do it? i pureed half of the beans!

1 cup each dried baby red beans & baby white beans soaked overnight
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 large shallot thin sliced
5 bulbs garlic whole
2 poblano peppers chopped
1 jar tomatillo salsa
1 broasted chicken
3 T. fresh roasted ground cumin
3 T. coriander
3 T. dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

cook beans in pressure cooker 2 hours. drain & puree half. set aside.
put shallot, onion, poblanos & garlic in dutch oven with some oil. cook 10 minutes until garlic is soft enough to mash with a fork. this is the best way to get flavor from garlic. chopped garlic usually burns & tastes metallic. put all your spices in.

add chicken stock a cup at a time. throw in the jar of tomatillo salsa. cook 30 minutes. add bean mixture & cook an hour. pull apart the broaster (hopefully you made stock out of the carcass) & add. cook covered an hour, uncover & reduce till desired thickness. it’s really best if you let it sit overnight. that way the flavors combine well & it thickens up nicely.

i added a dollop of sour cream & some fine shredded chedder/american cheese mix.

chicken matzo ball soup

i make this soup often because i love it so much. actually i am quite fond of the majority of jewish delicacies i sometimes wish i were jewish. not just because of the awesome traditional foods but because i find their ceremonies & holidays to have a lot of spirit & meaning. jewish folk in general are delightful.

anyhoo, since the colonel came down with a bad cold after work friday i decided to take care of him the best way that i know how-juicing & cooking. we started with fresh squeezed orange/grapefruit juice-i have a great juicer that i actually use-& then went to the grocery store to stock up on proper items for soup.
i like rachael ray & always use her suggestion of buying a pre-broasted chicken when using it for soup, chili or stews. i could not make it taste better because broasting is the ultimate flavor enhancer. i also found a new recipe for matzo balls that does not use ginger ale, but 4 egg whites whipped to stiff peaks. this gives the balls a lightness that is really awesome! the only thing i did different was add half of a fine diced sautéed onion to the mix & substituted room temp butter for the chicken fat.

chicken stock is a very individual thing. yesterday’s was this.

1 broasted chicken-remove all meat, cover & set aside. use skin, bones, fat & cartilage for stock.
3 carrots cut in half
1 yellow onion cut in half
1 bulb garlic
handful of parsley stems
3 celery stalks cut in half
8 cups water
3 star anise
1 T. rubbed sage
1 T. thyme
1 T. lemongrass
plenty of salt to taste
1 T. whole white peppercorns

cook everything covered 3-4 hours. strain & reduce 1 hour more. save 2 cups to cook the matzo balls in. after you do that, strain & put it back in. the matzo balls can be stored in water or stock so they don’t dry out.

it’s common to have just broth & matzo balls, but i added high quality egg noodles cooked separately & a cup of chicken meat. i put the meat in a strainer & dip it in the stock to warm it up. if you just throw all the meat in there it tends to get mealy because it’s already broasted. top with fresh minced parsley.

this is super hearty yet healthy & low in calories. AND of course delicious 🙂

perfect gumbo.

every time i make gumbo, i learn something. yesterday, inspired by my new cast iron dutch oven, i created my most perfect one.

my favorite kind is thick & creamy. very gravy like. i love dipping thick slices of french bread in it. my favorite meats in it are sausage & chicken. i have used andouille sausage a lot, but i can’t ever get a decent one in chicago. i have used all kinds of chicken-grilling my own, boiling, using a broaster (which can turn into mush if you cook it too long-thx rachael ray)

i have FINALLY found the right meats & my own recipe recently inspired by this recipe on nolacuisine.com-a really GREAT source for all things roux & beyond. you can find some of my past gumbo trials here and here . i’ve used all kinds of seafoods, meats & techniques.

now i’m going to share a few things that make my almost-perfect gumbo.

-first, you MUST use a dutch oven.

-use more flour. i used to use 3 tablespoons to half a cup oil for the roux for 45 minutes (almost constant whisking). this time i used 3/4 a cup. trust me. if you want a thick gravy style gumbo, you have to do this.

-always brown your chopped fresh okra in plenty of oil & drain before adding

-always add the file right before serving (almost as a condiment). sassafras gets bitter if you cook it too long.

-smoked hot sauce is a good idea i used local smoked black mole hot sauce by co-op sauce

-smoked meat is the BEST idea. i went to my favorite arkansas style bbq joint & bought their smoked hot links & smoked chicken. i will never use anything else. honey 1 bbq

-adding fine chopped scallions at the end is an awesome idea

-don’t use green peppers. use poblanos instead. WAY more flavor.

-cooking it covered on low for 4 hours is also a good idea

-fresh crusty french bread is a necessity. no rice needed. unless you prefer a thinner style of gumbo

-wait until the next day to eat it. the flavors need time to mingle.

first start the roux

1/2 c. veg oil with 3/4 cup white flour. whisk over medium almost constantly for 45 minutes until it is a caramel color.

then chop a pound of fresh okra & fry till brown in plenty of oil. drain & set aside.

chop 2 poblano peppers, 3 celery hearts, 2 red onions & 5 cloves garlic & set aside. when the roux is ready, cook them together covered for 10 minutes. then add

6 cups of chicken stock
plenty of salt to taste
your own blend of cajun seasoning (can be already mixed)
4 large bay leaves
plenty of worstishire sauce
any kind of favorite hot sauce-about 4 tablespoons to half a bottle depending on your tastes. remember it gets hotter as it cooks.

cover & cook 2 hours.

pull apart a whole smoked chicken & chop up 3 smoked hot links (this part is really up to you & your availability but smoked meat is the best flavor)

throw in all the meat & the okra. cover & cook over low heat another 2 hours.

add a bunch of fine chopped scallions, plenty of file (sassafras) & half a cup of chopped fresh parsley. cook 5 minutes & serve with fresh crusty french bread.

best of luck!